Since I moved to Boston a little over a month ago, I’ve learned that the grocery store is my greatest ally for managing a tight budget. Even with my full time job, I technically don’t have enough money to pay for rent, my bills, and even buy food! Luckily, I do have a little bit of help making the food necessity happen until my job hires me from temp to permanent at the beginning of next year.
There are a few grocery stores near me: Trader Joe’s, Shaw’s, and Whole Foods. I tried to make it work with Trader Joe’s, but the cramped & crowded store, limited and awful selection of prepackaged produce — often sourced from who knows where — as well as the quirky staff were all deal breakers. Shaw’s is so underwhelming, even with its enormity, that I had no interest in getting lost in there weekly. So far, I’ve decided to go with Whole Foods. I rely on food from this store for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. These days, I cook or prepare everything that I eat (unless there are leftovers from a catered lunch in my office or I wind up making the mistake of spending cash on a cheap dinner out). I’ve figured out how to save money, eat healthy, and keep my grocery bill way under $100/week. I should note that a weekly bill under $100 accounts for standard meals and no fancy or specialty ingredient purchases. Spices, oils, and vinegars are definitely vital to how I remain sane while cooking everything I eat. While they are initially expensive, when used properly, their value is very long lasting. Also, sometimes the bill is closer to $115 if I plan on cooking for two people. Tips and advice after the jump.